The southern coastline of Niigata touches the northern part of the Sea of Japan. In that region, several villages sank into the sea as a result of coastal erosion—a process that is called “Namikake” in their dialect.

On this coast, in the darkness of night, it takes a long time to adjust my vision. Once my eyes get used to the dark, images of a big rock, trees, a lighthouse, snow and the sea jump into my vision. The images have always been there in the darkness, but they suddenly appeared to me.

It seemed that the landscape wasn’t there before—it appeared at the moment I shot.

The coastal erosion that occurs in this region repeatedly changes the landscape each time. This erosion is not the demise of something, but rather the origin of something else, something that is newly born. Every flash I make in the darkness births a new form.

When I was in that place, I felt caught between existence and new creation; reality and fantasy. This ambiguity symbolizes that, thanks to erosion, this coast will be forever unstable. My “Namikake” series is based on my feelings during that snowy winter on the coast.

—Arito Nishiki

Editor’s Note: Nishiki’s project was recognized by the jury of the LensCulture Exposure Awards 2017—don’t miss the work from all 44 of the outstanding, international talents!

If you enjoyed this article, you might like these previous features: In Praise of Shadows, a short but beautiful meditation on the unique aesthetics of Japan; Matter/Burn Out, a review of a photobook filled with elegant, abstract images; and Fluorite Fantasia, a photographer’s search for her father after his sudden and untimely death expressed in a dreamlike, nostalgic series.